Yesterday, the brick exterior wall at the back of the kitchen was cut open for the new, larger window over the kitchen sink — and the original sliding glass door was still in place.
Today, the framing crew cut open the wall to add the new window to Steven’s office, and then mounted the new office and kitchen windows into place.
Here’s the new window in the office, from inside the office. More light!
And the sliding glass door has been removed. The brick wall here will be extended to the right, toward the garage. A new 36-inch wide exterior door will slot into the corner with the garage.
Here is the sliding glass door, removed, ready for donation to Habitat.
It’s time to get rid of the oversized brick hearth. Finally.
It intrudes into the family room at shin height, sharp, oversized, imposing, sucking up room.
Kevin, son of Mark Rehberg, president of Ranserve, the builder, jackhammered it out.
He saved the good brick for re-use at the new front entry.
- It’s Friday. Emerald Hill is quiet. There’s no one working, because we can’t move forward without the framing plan from the structural engineer. Time is going to waste.
- Barry at Custom Plumbing Services approved the plumbing selections, no changes, no additions. Kathleen at Ranserve alerted Jonell at Ferguson to start the order and delivery schedule. Jonell confirms and is also assembling the specification portfolios needed for construction and installation.
- Kyle at Elite Heating and Air Conditioning updated the Manual J to four tons at the request of Austin Energy Green Building. Steven forwarded the update to Miki at AEGB.
- Framing lumber is delivered to Emerald Hill.
- Steven is working through change orders 1, 2 and 3.
- Mark from Ranserve, Brett the architect and Steven are scheduled to meet 1 July to review options for exterior siding — what reveal, smooth or cedarmill finish, mitered corners or not, vertical or horizontal. Steven and Jacquela promise a quick decision.
- The house across the street is sold. There’s a dumpster in the driveway. Looks like another remodel is underway.
Here’s a photo tour of the house as of today.
See the horizontal metal flashing that runs across the inside of the exterior wall, about one foot higher than the floor? Light penetrates gaps in the wall under the flashing.
In other words, the exterior siding is open to critters, bugs and the elements. This house was not a sealed envelope. Heated and cooled air escaped through the walls.
This is wrong.
This is not a surprise; it is, instead, another example of why we are taking this house down to studs — find what’s wrong, fix it.
This is not permitted by building code today.
With the drywall down, the insulation out, demo continues to reveal the history of the house …
Mark Rehberg from Ranserve files this week’s update.
- Continued demolition
- Received approval on plumbing fixtures from S. Leon
- On site meeting with Ben Feldt to discuss existing/planned modifications
- On site meeting with Barry/Custom Plumbing
- Continue demo
- Disconnect and remove (2) HVAC units
- Habitat to pick up donation materials
- Plumbing submittal finalized
- Confirm with second opinion that existing wood floors cannot be refinished. This is most likely the case.
- Possibly start framing
- Simpson exterior door
- Hardie siding and soffit specifications (Steve, you may want to request input from Brett)
We had a productive week and may start framing next week.
Plumbing needs chases for pipes — waste, hot and cold water supplies, venting stacks — with enough vertical height to ensure the 1/4+-inch slope required by code.
Ron needs Ben to spec the locations and sizes for the chases.
Ben confirmed we can take out the non-loadbearing wall between the kitchen and family room, to create a “Great Room.” He will properly size the beam that will replace the undersized beam between the family and living rooms — the beam that is visibly deflecting under the second-floor loads. He will size beams for the ceiling in order to properly move the rabbit-warren of walls in what will become Jadin’s bath, aka “bath 2.” He will spec beams and studs elsewhere in the house to fix structural issues — at the back door and windows in the family room, in the master bedroom and the kitchen ceiling under the master bedroom, and elsewhere.
We knew the house needed these fixes. There are no surprises. We did our homework in the planning and discussion phase for this remodel. And we went spelunking, opening up holes in the drywall to confirm our suspicions, drawing the changes into the plans with Brett the architect and Michelle, keeper of all things budget at Ranserve.
We did not want to take the house down to studs. The aluminum wiring from 1968 forced reluctant Steven to take that decision early in the planning and discussion phase between Steven, Jacquela, Brett the architect and Mark at Ranserve. Take down all the drywall, remove all the insulation, keep going until you see the whites of its eyes. It’s daunting. It’s expensive. The job evolves to an entirely different order of magnitude.
Lesson learned: Never ever buy a house with aluminum wiring.
The irony of exposing the entrails is … you get to “save the house from itself,” as Ron told Steven today — the exact phrase Steven used when making that awesome decision to proceed.
Here are today’s revelations during demo that this remodel gets to fix.
Steven talked this through with Ron and Cris from Ranserve. They reassure that they have seen worse, that every house in Northwest Hills would exhibit similar failures if opened up for remodel, that everything here can and will be fixed, that we planned for all this, and the budget funds these repairs.